Trusts deliver creditable performance in difficult circumstances

31 May 2018

 

NHS Improvement has published the year-end financial and performance figures for the NHS provider sector.

The figures show that the provider sector as a whole finished the financial year 2017/18 with a deficit of -£960m.

This deficit is £464m more than was anticipated at the start of the year. However this is a £1.5bn improvement from 2015-16, when the sector’s deficit stood at £2.45bn.

Performance against the four hour standard for 2017/18 fell to 88.4% of patients compared to 89.1% the year before.

More than 5.87 million people went to A&E in January, February and March 2018 – an increase of over 220,000 more than last year. 

 

 

In response, the chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, said:

“NHS trusts and frontline staff are working harder than ever in the face of a relentless rise in demand for care, severe workforce pressures and a continued funding squeeze.

“The figures we see today reflect the worrying gap between what the NHS is being asked to deliver and the resources available following almost a decade of austerity. And we must remember that today’s figure masks the full underlying deficit which is much higher, and how reliant the NHS continues to be on one-off savings.

The figures we see today reflect the worrying gap between what the NHS is being asked to deliver and the resources available following almost a decade of austerity.

Chris Hopson    Chief Executive

“These pressures are being felt by patients and staff right across health and social care. There are not enough staff, ambulances, community and mental health capacity or hospital beds to cope.

“This has become a year-round challenge, but the problems were compounded by severe winter conditions, with the result that too often, standards of care fell short of what trusts want to provide, and what the public has a right to expect.

“These pressures have had a substantial impact on trust finances. The additional A & E activity and the sharp rise in emergency admissions meant there was less income than expected from planned procedures such as knee and hip replacements. There were also extra staffing costs to cover increased vacancies, sickness and staff turnover.

Winter pressures have had a substantial impact on trust finances. In those circumstances, the overall deficit of -£960m was a creditable performance.

Chris Hopson    Chief Executive

“In those circumstances, the overall deficit of -£960 million was a creditable performance. Once again, the NHS has also outperformed the wider economy on productivity. Spending on agency staff fell by more than £500 million compared with the previous year, and trusts delivered cost improvements equivalent to £3.2 billion (3.7% of trust turnover) – £110 million more than 2016/17.

“However, looking ahead to 2018/19, financial and workforce pressures are increasing. For the longer term, we welcome the prime minister’s recent commitment to increase long term funding for health and care and look forward to the new comprehensive health and care workforce strategy.

Today’s figures show a substantial part of any additional spending on the NHS in the future, will be spent on fixing the shortfalls that have built up in recent years.”

Chris Hopson    Chief Executive

“But today’s figures show a substantial part of any additional spending on the NHS in the future, will be spent on fixing the shortfalls that have built up in recent years.”

 

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